Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Girls just like You/Boys just like Me

Jean Stapleton has written a couple of Christian children's books which we have appreciated: Read with Me and God's Special Tent. The latter is an explanation of the tabernacle, the special tent in which God's people met in the wilderness and includes instructions for making a model. So, we were pleased to learn that she has written two more children's devotional books: Girls Just like you: Bible women who trusted God and Boys like me: Bible men who trusted God.


Each of these hardback books contains fifty devotions around either men or women in the Bible. The format is a title, a suggested short Bible reading which is often only one verse, a retelling of the narrative followed by something to think and pray about.  Each book has a ribbon bookmark which seems a sensible addition. 

The characters vary from the very well known: Abraham, Mary and David to the less known Jehoiada and Jehosheba who were real heroes as well as  Shiphrah and Puah.

These books are recommended for ages 3-5 if read aloud and 6-10 for reading independently. This seems about right although I wish the publishers had not started the first paragraph of each day with a large capital which makes the first word  more difficult for young readers. 

These books are ideal for children who need an easy devotional book to read on their own or to read with a parent. They can be obtained from Christian Focus or Amazon.

Disclaimer: I was given these books by the author but was not expected to provide a review.

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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Learning Plans 2017-2018

We have just started our more formal learning again and with a new year there are a few changes. This is a list of my plans. Please note that what works for us may not work for you. Having made this disclaimer, I would add that many of my best ideas have come from other home educators' plans.

Younger Daughter is almost 11 so UK year 6 and Youngest Son is 8 which is UK year 4.

English aka Language Arts
English consists of multiple parts

-Reading. I am planning a time of individual reading, after lunch. This will be reading of the children's choice. Youngest Son will also read aloud to me daily.

-Writing. During morning time, I plan to work through the writing workshops in How to teach English at Key Stage 2 by Pie Corbett. Most  writing will be linked to topics in other subjects.

-Spelling. The plan is that one child will continue to use All about Spelling and the other will use Touch Type Read Spell.

Handwriting: Younger Daughter has been practising calligraphy over the holiday and will have some time to work on this. Youngest Son will use a handwriting workbook and copy work.


Typing: Nessy Typing and Touch Type Read Spell.

Poetry: we plan to continue to have a weekly Poetry Tea. This is much loved and has many benefits including reading aloud, enjoying and discussing poetry, reading dialogue poems with friends and writing. In additon to this, Poetry Tea helps with  planning a small snack and decorating a table.

Grammar and punctuation: we plan to use the Galore Park English books for this.

Extras: We hope to read Julius Caesar, this term, both in a simplified version and as the actual play to fit in with a Royal Shakespeare Company production of this play for schools in the late autumn.

Maths
We tend to start math with 10 questions which I write in the children's maths books the previous day. These tend to be short and cover topics which might need revision.                                                                                                                                            
Youngest Son has already started Galore Park Junior Maths book 2 and we hope to continue this.

Younger Daughter is using a different programme this year with the Schofield and Sims Understanding KS2 workbooks.

Maths games most days.

Science
Energy: its forms, changes and functions from the Elementary Physics Series.

Exploring Nature with Children: we are planning to use the new journal although work on one journal between the three of us.

Our home education group is studying science, this year and the group is also a judging panel for the Royal Society Young People's Science Book Prize.            

History  
This year we plan to study the Victorians and the First and Second World Wars.
For the Victorians, we plan to use Our Island Story as the core text and for the First and Second World Wars, The Story of Britain by RJ Unstead.
We hope to supplement with many other books, trips and activities.  This week, we have been consulting a rather old copy of Mrs Beeton to write a Victorian dinner menu.

Geography
I have planned three country afternoons during this term. In addition, we use Seterra and probably will use the geography from Valley Christian School Online.

Art
Younger Daughter is signed up for an Explore Art award and has done her first activity for this. While she is working on this Youngest Son will be working on coding using Code.org. 

Music
We plan to use Classics for Kids weekly during morning time. We sing each day and Younger Daughter has piano lessons.

Latin
We do a little Latin daily using Minimus. Younger Daughter is already familiar with book one so this is revision for her but new for Youngest Son. 

Physical education
This is mainly informal with visits to the park and time on the trampoline most days. Younger Daughter has been running with friends and has started to go to Park Run, on Saturdays. I would like to add in some longer cycle rides.



       
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Saturday, 2 September 2017

September Inspiration


I had every intention of blogging more in August but despite having a break from formal learning, this hasn't quite happened. We have had various trips out,
a photography workshop and many friends to play, plus a garden which has been wonderfully productive.

Grandma has enjoyed the general summer bustle and we have made major progress toward her being able to sit out of bed. It has been a long, long saga!

Planning for next year has happened and I hope to post about the resources we hope to use soon.

Earlier in the holiday, we popped into a temporary exhibition of Shirley Hughes' work. Shirley Hughes is famous for her books about Alfie and also Dogger. We particularly like her poetry anthology for younger children, Out and About. 


The Read Aloud Revival has had an interview with another favourite childhood author and illustrator, Helen Oxenham. Helen is the illustrator of Going on a Bear Hunt and it turns out that she is married to John Burningham of Mr Gumby fame.

Nothing to do with education but, at long last, I have found a yeasted banana bread recipe.
Yummy! I have tried increasing the number of bananas for extra flavour but this didn't make much difference to the taste and adversely affected the consistency. If any is left, this loaf is great toasted.

Some time ago, I reviewed Hazel Stapleton's book Looking back with ME. This was orginally privately published but has now been attractively republished by Day One Publications.  

Not infrequently, I am asked about starting home education and resources. Now, into our ninth year, we use a mixture to suit the children's needs and interests. I hope to post about the resources for this coming year very soon. However, there hasn't been a UK Christian curriculum divided by key stages and looking toward UK exams. Just recently, I found out about Valley Christian School Online which plans to fill this gap. I haven't used the resources as yet but am in the process of signing up to use some of the Key Stage 2 materials. It is looking very promising and if all goes well, I plan to update about this.

Farmhouse Schoolhouse is a US blog and Instagram feed and one of my favourites. There is a new post about resources on the blog. I like the disclaimer that the post is to give ideas rather than something to copy. The part about not buying cheap crayons resonated. We have found that, here in the UK, Straedtler pencils and Berol felt tip pens last far longer than cheaper alternatives. 

We are looking forward to the start of the new learning year and hope to be having a not back to school picnic with our home education group to celebrate! Do you have plans to mark this time of year?

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